Buck Williams was my friend, and I was his. If I had a problem or needed help with something, he was there for and with me, as I was with him. As I recall, Buck was the only adult male (outside my family) to whom I ever said “I love you, man”. He responded in kind. We had much in common, yet in many ways we saw things quite differently—especially when it came to religion and politics. We would sometimes discuss (never argue about) these differences. He never ‘converted’ me, nor I him; nor did we really try. In spite of these different viewpoints, neither of us questioned the other’s faith or patriotism. We had a tacit—if unspoken—agreement that, whatever our differences, we would not let them get in the way of our relationship. For that I am eternally grateful, and I think he was as well. When he died 2 years ago, it left a big hole in my life and in my heart; one that has yet to be filled, and probably never will.
I have thought of this often since the church, the United States, and the world are so deeply rent with dissension. In each case, there is much more that unites us than divides us. Yet, in each case, we are letting those differences—as important, fundamental, and deep-seated as they may seem to be—get in the way of our common calling, identity, and purpose. If things continue to intensify as they have lately, we may lose the church as we know it and/or find our world irreparably divided. And that would be an unspeakable tragedy.
What do you think? What can we do to heal the breaches that have been formed? Where have you recently seen people coming together in spirit and purpose for the greater good? To what is God ultimately calling us in the days and years ahead?